More Than Just Oats

Health & Lifestyle

Anyone who really knows me, will know that I live off of oats. Short for oatmeal, oats is a breakfast meal that I was introduced to as a child. Back then I knew it as porridge. My earliest memories of porridge was of it being cooked in milk in a pot on the stove. I remember its creamy colour and the watery consistency it had. Mainly due to the amount of milk that was added. As I got older and into my teenage years, I would go on to consume Quakers Instant Oatmeal from a small brown packet in a variety of different flavours such as apples and cinnamon, maple and brown sugar, cinnamon and spice, and sometimes the dino eggs. Thinking about it now, I can’t believe how long I have been eating oats for and the many sugary flavours that I would consume it in. Talk about a sweet tooth! Years later, I turned to cold cereal as an easy morning breakfast option that would get me quickly out the door and on my way to school. Over those years, my stomach became sensitive to dairy and cold milk in the morning. As I got busier, I needed more than just a quick bowl of cereal to sustain me through the morning. This was when I returned to my beloved oats.

About Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a classic breakfast food that has been consumed over many years. It is made from whole-grain oats, is nutritious, and has great health benefits. What I love most about it is how versatile it is, since it can be prepared in so many different ways. For the past few years, it has and continues to be the meal that I choose to start off my day with.

Its Benefits

a bowl of delicious and healthy breakfast

A significant health benefit of oatmeal is that it’s high in fiber which is an essential nutrient that supports healthy digestion, regulates blood sugar levels, and helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. The fiber in oatmeal is known as beta-glucan. It’s a soluble fiber that forms a gel-like substance in the digestive system and helps to slow down digestion, keep you feeling fuller for longer periods and prevents overeating. This is one of the main reasons why I opt for oats to get me through a busy morning and long days.

In addition, oatmeal is a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is rich in vitamins that help to support the production of energy and proper metabolism. Oatmeal also contains iron, which is essential for healthy blood circulation, and magnesium, which promotes strong bones and muscles. It’s a healthy breakfast choice for those looking to manage their weight as it is also low in fat and calories.

Making It

Oatmeal is super easy to make and can be adjusted to your preference. It can be made with water, milk, or dairy-free milk such as almond, oat, or coconut milk. When I make my oatmeal, I mainly use oat milk. For those like me that may have a sweet tooth, it can be topped with fresh fruits such as apples, berries or bananas. For crunch and added flavour, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits can also be included.

Choosing It

a basket with a wooden spoon in a jar of oatmeal beside an avocado and a lime

What’s great about oatmeal is that it is an affordable and widely available food. It can be found in grocery stores and is a great choice for those on a budget.

While oatmeal is a nutritious food, it is important to choose the right type. Instant oatmeal and flavored varieties (like the kind I was having as a kid) often contain added sugars and preservatives, which can negate some of oatmeal’s health benefits. Alternatively, opt for plain, unsweetened oatmeal or steel-cut oats, which are lightly processed and contain more fiber and nutrients. The sweetness can be adjusted to your liking. Sometimes I like to add a little maple syrup to mine.

What’s JUSTproats?

While I have spent many years eating oatmeal, even until this day, I’d like to share a new way that I have been enjoying it. JUSTproats is an Ontario based company that makes a healthy plant-based breakfast blend of oats, chia seeds, plant protein, fruits, veggies and superfoods. For me, JUSTproats is so much more than just proats (protein oats). It contains a staple food item that has and continues to sustain me throughout busy days, but with the addition of so much more that is needed as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet. Made available in so many flavours such as vanilla, banana, mocha, chocolate and shortcake, with a new flavour added each month, JUSTproats is even easier to prepare and enjoy as a breakfast, mid-day snack or an evening dessert. They are even perfect to pack for road trips! I just add it to a jar with my oat milk, stir, and refrigerate it the night before. By morning it’s ready to eat or to carry with me for the day. If you’re located in Ontario or Quebec in Canada and would like to give JUSTproats a try, save 10% on me by using SMYARDE at checkout. Enter address during checkout to see eligibility. Enjoy!

Sources: Google, JustProats

Eating Mindfully

Health & Lifestyle

Presented by Jason Wrobel with Commune


photo of vegetable salad in bowls
Photo by Ella Olsson
  • Macronutrients – a class of chemical compounds which humans consume in the largest quantities; carbohydrates, protein, lipids.
  • Fletcherizing – a term introduced by Horace Fletcher, also known as “The Great Masticator,” in which one thoroughly, and slowly, chews their food making it easier to digest, as chewing creates more amylase in the mouth, which is the primary carbohydrate-digestive enzyme.
  • Amylase – the primary carbohydrate-digestive enzyme found in saliva and pancreatic fluid, that converts starch and glycogen into simple sugars.
  • Digestive enzymes – substances produced by our bodies that help us to digest the foods we eat. These enzymes are secreted by various parts of our digestive system and helps to break down food components such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. 

What is a Food Journal?

  • Taking inventory of what you’re eating each day
  • Recognizing diversity is important when it comes to nutrition (“eating the rainbow”: as many colours in each meal; vitamins, nutrients, phytonutrients)
  • An awareness to what you’re eating and why
    •  Is it for nourishment and fuel or emotional comfort?
    • Recognizing what emotional states are motivating food choices (when feeling happy, sad, stressed, etc.)
    • Paying attention to the body and how you feel 30-50 mins after each meal

How to Keep a Food Journal

acai bowl on a wooden tray
Photo by Taryn Elliott
  1. List what you ate
  2. List ingredients in a meal
  3. Calculate range of calories, proteins, macronutrients
  4. Identify feelings before, during and after a meal
  • Example:
    • Before: Ate a chocolate bar because was feeling lonely
    • Look for consistent patterns (e.g., always eating chocolate when lonely)
    • During: Distracted on phone, forgot the taste of meal, not present; ate too fast
    • After: Bloated from almond milk; gluten sensitivity (bloated, sluggish)

5. Set intentions, changes, and goals for next meals:

  • Will go for dark chocolate or an alternative snack when feeling lonely 
  • Will be more present, eliminate distractions 
  • Will slow down, savour more
  • Will try a different type of milk; will go gluten-free

Why Keep a Food Journal?

  • Gives you a snapshot of what you’re feeling (before, during and after a meal)
  • Allows you to make necessary goals or changes for your next meals
  • Helps you to determine your relationship with food (e.g., eating based on emotions)
  • The aim is to create a positive, loving relationship, being as present as possible

Fletcherizing – Horace Fletcher

  • The more you chewed your food, the easier it is to digest
  •  Chewing creates amylase in mouth
  • For optimal nutrient absorption of food over the course of digestion, it must be reduced to tiny particles and blended evenly with saliva

Benefits of Keeping a Food Journal

brown ceramic cup beside notebook and pen
Photo by Madison Inouye
  • Keeps track of what you’re eating daily
    • Helps to see if there are opportunities to create more diversity in what you’re eating
    • Develops a better understanding of how you’re feeling when you eat foods
    • To see if you’re present or not to what you’re eating
  • The journal can be created in your own way
  • Establishes a practice of being more present at every meal
    • To enjoy feasting with your eyes first, by taking in the food before you consume it (e.g., close your eyes even before your first bite)
    • To take in the smell, relax, breath, and sink into the experience
    • Allows yourself to be undistracted
    • Unlocks gratitude and appreciation for the meal
    • Allows you to eat slower, chew mindfully, allowing for more nutrients absorption (helps to pre-digest the food)
    • Allows for a deeper connected experience to what you’re eating by being more grateful to the fact that you’re nourishing yourself with amazing food every single day!

More from Jason Worbel


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.